Video conferences can be less exhausting if participants feel a certain sense of belonging to a group, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.
As remote working and the use of video conferencing increased dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, more and more people are tired of meeting through computer screens rather than in person. In this study, 55 employees from various fields in the United States were asked about their feelings about video conferencing. The researchers thought longer meetings and being on video would cause the most fatigue, but their findings surprised them, said lead researcher Andrew Bennett, PhD, an assistant professor at Old Dominion University.
“We expected some aspects of the video to be related to fatigue, like looking at everyone’s faces up close on a screen or even looking at yourself, but we didn’t find this to be true in our Longer meetings also don’t impact fatigue, “Bennett said.” However, the importance of feeling a sense of belonging or connection with the group has really minimized fatigue after a video conference. “
Bennett’s team decided to study video conferencing fatigue, or “zoom fatigue,” because they all felt exhausted after their first video conferences together when they started working remotely during the first few days of the conference. the pandemic. The research was published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Study participants received nine hourly surveys each day for five consecutive working days last year. Of the surveys sent out, participants responded to over 1,700 surveys and participated in an average of five to six video conferences during the week. The majority of participants were men (58%) and whites (73%) with an average age of 33 years.
One participant said that videoconferences “can be taxing on the mind and the spirit”, while another was “tired of being there” and “extremely tired after being there”. Only 7% of participants reported no signs of fatigue via videoconference.
Watching yourself on a webcam or turning off the webcam had no statistically significant impact on post-meeting fatigue, according to the study. Participants reported conflicting feelings about webcam use, with some saying it was exhausting always looking at the screen while others felt it was impersonal when participants turned off their webcams.
“Everyone just wants to come in and out, log in and log out,” said one participant. “There is very little chatter before and after the meeting like in real life.”
This chatter can help create a sense of belonging to the group, which has had a marked effect in reducing video conferencing fatigue, the researchers said. There also seems to be a sweet spot in the early afternoon when videoconferencing causes less fatigue than at other times of the day.
Based on their findings, the researchers made recommendations to help reduce video conferencing fatigue:
- Organize videoconferences in the early afternoon.
- Improve perceptions of group membership, including time for chatting before or after the meeting or breakout rooms where people could talk about their interests (sports, movies, etc.).
- Establish some basic meeting rules, such as whether to keep webcams on and refrain from doing other work.
- Take breaks by looking away from the screen, standing up and walking around.
“We know video conferencing is useful,” Bennett said. “We get more emotional and non-verbal information from them, but that doesn’t mean it all has to be done in a video conference. Sometimes a phone call or email is more effective and efficient.”
Source of the story:
Material provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.